Business

Washington Federal takes over Horizon Bank

The Marysville branch of Horizon Bank, located at 3617 88th St. NE, became a branch of the Washington Federal Savings and Loan Association Jan. 9. - Kirk Boxleitner
The Marysville branch of Horizon Bank, located at 3617 88th St. NE, became a branch of the Washington Federal Savings and Loan Association Jan. 9.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Customers of the Marysville branch of Horizon Bank, located at 3617 88th St. NE, found themselves banking with Washington Federal Jan. 9.

Washington state regulators seized the 18 branches of the Bellingham-based Horizon Bank Jan. 8, but Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation spokesman David Barr reported that the Seattle-based Washington Federal Savings and Loan Association has taken over all 18 Horizon Bank branches in what he deemed “a seamless transition.”

Washington Federal announced Jan. 8 its acquisition of certain assets and liabilities, including most of the loans and deposits, of Horizon Bank. As of Sept. 30, 2009, Horizon Bank reported total assets of $1.3 billion and total deposits of $1.2 billion. The closure will cost the FDIC approximately $539.1 million.

The Horizon Bank branches reopened Jan. 9 during their normal business hours as branches of Washington Federal. The FDIC assured Horizon Bank customers that they could still access their money through Washington Federal by writing checks or using ATMs or debit cards, since checks will continue to be processed and borrowers should continue to make their usual mortgage and loan payments.

Starting Jan. 11, bank customers with Internet access were able to access the FDIC “Is My Account Fully Insured?” Web site at https://www2.fdic.gov/drrip/afi/index.asp, and the Washington Federal Web site at www.washingtonfederal.com now features a welcome message to Horizon Bank customers from Roy Whitehead, the chair, president and chief executive of Washington Federal.

“I also want to emphasize that your money is safe with us,” Whitehead wrote in his online message. “Not only do your funds remain insured in full accordance with FDIC guidelines, you have the added security of banking with Washington Federal, considered one of the strongest and best-capitalized banks in the nation. Our capital ratio, which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation considers a key measure of financial stability, is more than twice the level to be considered well-capitalized.”

“We’re especially excited about the Marysville branch,” said Cathy Cooper, senior vice president of marketing and investor relations for Washington Federal. “While some of Horizon Bank’s branches are close enough to Washington Federal branches to make one or the other redundant, we had no presence in Marysville.”

Cooper touted Washington Federal’s 160 branches in eight states, as well as its historic roots in the Pacific Northwest. Although Washington Federal will be notifying former Horizon Bank customers in writing within 3-6 months of their new account numbers, Cooper warned those customers to be wary of any other form of contact they receive in the meantime, from those claiming to be Washington Federal representatives.

“If you’re contacted by phone or e-mail, there’s a potential for fraud there,” Cooper said. “We’re working to make this transition as smooth as possible. Washington Federal has the financial strength and flexibility to weather the tough times, and we look forward to getting to know our new customers as neighbors.”

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